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Type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune conditions

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition. Autoimmune conditions develop when the immune system mistakenly attacks cells in your own body. The word autoimmunity describes the immune system processes that causes autoimmune conditions.
Content last reviewed and updated: 09.08.2023

Having multiple autoimmune conditions

People who have one autoimmune condition are at greater risk of developing another autoimmune disease. Genetic studies have shown that the same genetic changes that increase the risk of type 1 diabetes also increase the risk of other autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), coeliac disease, psoriasis and autoimmune thyroid disease.

Do autoimmune conditions run in families?

People who have family members with autoimmune conditions may be at greater risk of developing any autoimmune disease than someone with no family history of autoimmune conditions.

Research into autoimmune conditions

We believe that understanding more about the root causes of autoimmune conditions, and how they are linked, will help accelerate us towardsus find better treatments and cures for type 1 diabetes. This is why, together with the MS Society, Versus Arthritis, and the British Society for Immunology, we established the Connect Immune Research Partnership in 2018.

Find out more about the Connect Immune Research Partnership.

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More helpful information

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A woman with type 1 diabetes who is cleaning her teeth to try to avoid the development of gum disease, a complication of diabetes

Complications research

Find out how we’re funding research to make type 1 complications a thing of the past.

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An older man doing a blood glucose finger prick test using a blood glucose meter

Managing type 1 diabetes

Learn how to manage your blood glucose levels, count carbs and deal with hypos and hypers.

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A patient with type 1 diabetes talking to a diabetes nurse

Your diabetes healthcare team

Find out who can help when you have questions about type 1 diabetes complications.

More about complications

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Eye problems (retinopathy)

Learn to spot the signs of retinopathy, how to reduce your risk, where to go for support and what the treatments are.

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Gum disease

Good dental care and support is important if you have type 1 diabetes. Because of the extra glucose in your blood, you’re more at risk of gum disease, tooth decay and tooth loss.

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Problems with heart and blood vessels

When blood glucose levels are high for a long time, it can damage the blood vessels and nerves. This can lead to a loss of blood supply to the legs and feet. It can also cause problems with your heart.

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Kidney damage (nephropathy)

People with type 1 diabetes are at a higher risk of developing kidney problems, called nephropathy. Learn about the signs, how to reduce your risk and what the treatments are.

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Foot problems

Living with type 1 diabetes can increase your risk of developing foot problems. Having type 1 reduces the blood supply to your feet and can cause a loss of feeling.

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Nerve damage

Nerves carry signals between your brain and other parts of your body. Over a long period of time, high blood glucose levels can cause damage to your nerves.